In a Christmas Day sermon in 1521 Martin Luther preached on the advent story in Luke 2. Luther touched on many points in this sermon, including the message of the angels and the reality that Christ is the fulfillment of so many Old Testaments promises and prophecies. At one point when Luther was talking about the gospel in this sermon he reflected on preachers or messengers of the gospel. Below is one section of his reflection. There’s a warning for us today in these words. There’s also a reminder how the church before the Reformation had very little light of the gospel shining in it:
There is no more terrible plague, misfortune or cause for distress upon earth than a preacher who does not preach God’s Word; of whom, alas, the world today is full; and yet they think they are pious and do good when indeed their whole work is nothing but murdering souls, blaspheming God and setting up idolatry, so that it would be much better for them if they were robbers, murderers, and the worst scoundrels, for then they would know that they are doing wickedly. But now they go along under spiritual names and show, as priest, bishop, pope, and are at the same time ravening wolves in sheeps’ clothing, and it would be well if no one ever heard their preaching.Martin Luther, “Christmas Day (Luke 2:1–14),” in Luther’s Church Postil…, ed. and trans. John Nicholas Lenker, vol. I, The Precious and Sacred Writings of Martin Luther (Minneapolis, MN: Lutherans in All Lands Co., 1905), 153–154.
We can certainly thank God for the Reformation!
Hammond, WI, 54015